Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Gouri Shankar Temple is located in Bindu Sagar Road about 30m south of Tirthesvara Temple and Bhabani Shankar Temple Complex.
That was no typo either, when I say the temple is “in” the road I mean just that ! Here Bhubaneswar has got quite creative in the ways it can encroach upon some of its ancient monuments, why just stick to residential buildings when you can turn the building itself into a traffic island ?
Painted a bright orange-red, probably an attempt to prevent it being hit by passing vehicles, it has become known as “Traffic Mahadeva” by the locals and probably serves as a major landmark.
The temple appears to be quite early, potentially early 8th century A.D. and what is visible above ground is only part of the temple. The remainder is below the current road level, with a flight of steps leading down to the entrance. It was quite busy with devotees visiting when I walked past so I didn’t venture inside myself.
Both this temple and the early temple you can see in the nearby Bhabani Shankar Temple Complex clearly show that there is a widespread horizon some 2-3m below the current land surface that takes us back some 1,200 years. One would imagine there are many unknown structures that are now sealed by the network of roads and densely packed properties in the heart of the old city.
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Categories: Bhubaneswar, Gouri Shankar Temple, Odisha
So the possibility is that originally the temple was not so much below the ground level. Are the steps leading down were constructed later on in an attempt to make the sanctum accessible?
Traffic Mahadeva…. thats interesting but on a serious note we really are very callous towards our heritage. Thanks for telling us about these significant yet unknown shrines.
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Yes, those steps are not contemporary with the temple. You see this a lot in Bhubaneswar, Kartikeswar Temple (just blogged about) is another example, where you can clearly see it’s buried. In London if archaeologists want to get back to the Roman period (400 A.D. and earlier), they need to remove about 5m of soil. Obviously that is in an urbanised setting. Out in the countryside you may only need to excavate down 1m to get to the same time period.
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